Friday, November 13, 2009

Quizzing Misadventures

This happened last week at a premium B-school:

We (QuizMonks; the research team) reach the venue of the quiz two hours before the scheduled time for a dry run.

The event head has flown off to Delhi to participate in some other quiz. (Bravo!)

2) The assistant in-charge takes us to the venue when there’s hardly 30 minutes left for the quiz to start.

3) The LCD switches off every 2 minutes; there is no mic; no sound cord for the laptop to test the audio questions.

4) A volunteer gets a cord from somewhere after much delay and the audio works fine. (Phew!)

5) The volunteer says, “Since the sound cord is put in the system, the mic wouldn’t work. Dhananjay, can you shout?” (It almost prompted Dhananjay to reply, “Yes. Can I start with you?”)

6) We realize the LCD is a pain. The assistant in-charge asks a corporate participant to stand on a chair and rectify the LCD that’s mounted on the ceiling. (You see, the organizers don’t believe in being formal. What the hell! In fact, they don’t believe in being courteous either.)

7) After much delay, they change the venue of the elims to a different classroom. All participants are asked to move there.

8) At the new venue, the LCD and mics are fine, but the audio doesn’t work fine. A random volunteer says, “Guys, please don’t delay anymore. We are late already. Let’s start the quiz.”

9) We start the elims and Dhananjay has to change two audio/video questions on the spot, as the organizers couldn’t get the audio glitches smoothened.

10) The screen at the main lawns (where the finals are to happen) is a tiny one mounted on a tripod. We ask the volunteers to change it. One of them tells us, “It will be visible. Don’t worry. Anyway, the quizmaster would read out, na?”

11) We threaten we wont do the quiz if they don’t get a bigger screen. They use a flex/banner on the backdrop and the finals that were to start at 6.30 pm gets postponed until 7 pm. And then, they realize that the director is on his way. So the quiz finally starts at around 7.45 pm. The Quizmaster had arrived at 5.15 pm. (Who cares about sticking to the schedule!)

12) The ultra smart sound guy keeps on fidgeting with the speakers and every time an audio is played, no one is able to hear it. Every single time, the host has to keep on announcing, “Someone please get the audio straight.” Every single time.

All these goof-ups, despite giving them clear instructions (in writing) a couple of weeks before the quiz about the exact requirements; including, the size of the screen.

Just a couple of weeks prior to the above-mentioned disaster, at another premium B-school, the organizers look unprepared for the event. A tiny screen for a massive auditorium; winners being given post-dated cheques without even informing them about it, etc. The cribber-event-head tells us in a high-handed tone, “Dhananjay, I thought you’d bring with you at least 50 corporate teams. Still, we get only 27 corporate teams. What ya?” We make it clear to him that it’s not the responsibility of the research team to get teams.

Personally, I feel that most of these people conduct events to add bullet points on their CV. Everything boils down to that. What a farce! Quite a few organizers speak with us as if we are their slaves. I think they take this liberty with us, because we aren’t like the other quizmasters who strut around with attitude up their sleeves, stay on campus and yet arrive late for quizzes, order food at odd hours, ask people to postpone their flights since the quiz would run late and conduct the quiz according to their whims and fancies. Surprisingly (or, maybe not), they are the ones who are respected; students address them as ‘sir’ and talk to them like they were the bosses. These are men of honour!

When Dhananjay and I conceived the idea of a quizzing research company, we were very clear about what we wanted. Dhananjay loved quizzing and I always wanted to do something on my own. We approached two of our friends who also shared similar interests and just like that, we got started. Our motto was clear – to offer quality research that’s unmatched in the country and conduct quizzes where the focus is on the questions and not, the accompanying shenanigans. We would slog our asses; stay overnight at each others’ places, work and re-work on questions, re-frame them to make them look sleeker and yet informative; think about 100 odd things to make the quiz a good mix of easy/tough questions, keep on racking our brains to cover questions on varied topics, etc.

Some unsaid rules we follow (or, try our best to) religiously are –

1) No compromise on research no matter how ‘commercial’ the event/quiz might have to be.

2) We will never be late for our quizzes because, we value our and everybody else’s time. We reach the venue at least an hour and a half prior to the scheduled time and do a dry run.

3) Complete the quiz a week before the event, so that we can review it over the next few days and make it better.

4) A post-event review and take necessary steps to make it better next time.

5) We ask participants for their suggestions after every quiz and if they make sense (and they generally do), earnestly work towards them.

Maybe, we should throw some attitude. Maybe, we should arrive late. We should perhaps ask the organizers to serve us spicy Chinese food and Kiwi-fruit juice next time. We must insist on a chauffer driven car. We must repeat questions from previous quizzes. I think all this will make QuizMonks more coveted in the eyes of the organizers.



Anonymous Souvik said...

Among the blunders, you forgot to add that there were not enough chairs in the second hall where the prelims finally took place. Some participants had to bring their own chairs into the room from various places.

And all this after charging each corporate team Rs 500 for registration. Isn't a sufficient number of chairs a basic necessity. Even if we consider the fact that since they had to shift venue at last moment, wasn't it the organizers' responsibility to arrange chairs once the second hall was finalized?

Among all this, it is better to forget that no receipts were issued for the registration charges.

1:39 AM  
Blogger Nachiket said...

wow... seems you had a "great" time at the quiz....

i think you should take advise of the organizers... you should have brought the at least 100 corporate teams... those poor chaps deserve this.... otherwise how are they going to recover the money they are paying you.... Research is not what is worth paying... BS!!!

seriously why don't you guys carry your own sound system, LCD projector, screen etc. and charge for it... give a choice to organizers... n do a tie up with some sound wala... or buy a speaker and a mixer...

6:50 AM  
Blogger Nilesh said...

it was indeed shocking to know that something like this happened at a reputed college... a college that's equally famous for quizzing... I have seen their participants at a lot many quizzes, and quality ones... really sad to know all these things happening

10:58 AM  
Blogger suvidha galaxy said...

Nice to See. I will come back again.
Keep it up.
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7:59 PM  
Anonymous Saurabh said...

Hi! I am Saurabh from VNIT. Does this refer to the event in our insti. I wouldnt know coz I passed out last year.

8:17 PM  
Blogger SSD said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:51 AM  
Blogger SSD said...

@above: Stealing my identity? Or is there another one who quizzed who also happened to graduate last year? I don't think so.

If you're from VNIT, as you say, you would know that Quizfest '09.

@Nachiket What do you mean "bring 100 teams". Teams aren't vada pavs to bring along. People come if they want to. And why would an insti need to "recover" their money? They have sponsors right?

BTW, are you being sarcastic? If yes, then :)

@Surya Who's the joker who's posing as me :) Or is their another one by my name? I don't remember any such guy.

4:52 AM  
Blogger Surya Ragunaathan said...

@ Souvik - haaw! Is it? I didn't know about the insufficient chairs thing... hopeless ya, Souvik. I still feel so depressed about the whole thing, you know. We were so excited about the quiz and this is what it turned out to be :((

@ Nachiket - Haha! I know you are sarcastic with that one... carrying our own logistical requirements is not worth in a college event... yes, if and when we do our own event or at a more larger scale like a Crucible or something, then its worth the money and effort... certainly not in a college quiz.

@ Nilesh - I haven't yet recovered from the shock... I don't mean to boast, but we were much much better at MCC at managing events.

@ Saurabh - Ok, if you are stealing the real Saurabh's id (which I think you are), I don't understand why... I have allowed Anonymous comments also on this blog, so you could have comfortably chosen that one... It IS indeed meant for spineless people like you... Anyway, if you read the post carefully, you'd understand that I am talking about a couple of B-school quizzes, and I suppose VNIT is not a B-school.

@ SSD (the real Saurabh) - What a coincidence that I spoke to you just the day before and this pseudo-Saurabh crops up :) Anyway, I don't think he's genuine. 'Coz he has posted the same comment on some quiz blogs as well... Must be a jobless bloke who got offended by my post or something... I am just used to these anonymous comments... Ignore!

10:45 AM  
Blogger SSD said...

@Surya Yes really weird coincidence. Apparently, I have offended someone while quizzing.

But on other quiz blogs? Even weirder. I'm thinking who's this guy who could have been from one of the instis you conducted the quiz, who also happens to know me.

Anyway, done and dusted.

BTW, which insti ka organiser took off? I'm guessing it would be JBIMS?

10:58 PM  
Anonymous yui said...

Hi,I'm behind you!

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi...i was at the event and qualified to the finals also from b-schools..........the quiz was conducted in real messy was sad to see a senior professional like Suresh kumar kept standing during the prelims for quite a time..may be the organisers would take a lesson for next time....but the questions were great and we enjoyed ourselves

11:49 PM  
Blogger Surya Ragunaathan said...

@ Anonymous - Hi! I think I do know who you are :)) Anyway, Thanks for the appreciation for the research... Hope the students 'learn a lesson' if they know what that means.

Thanks again, ya :)

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:25 AM  

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